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The Clean and Jerk September 5, 2007

Posted by Matt Brown in Strength.

If, for some strange reason, you were only allowed one lift with which to work out, the clean and jerk would be the one to do. Called the “king of lifts,” because it allows more weight to be lifted above the head than any other lift, the clean and jerk is the single most effective lift in a weight trainers arsenal. It works most of the major muscle groups in the upper and lower body and provides the ultimate full-body workout. However, care must be taken when performing this lift, because it is very easy to injure yourself without proper technique. When first starting out it’s best to use something light, a empty bar or even a broomstick depending on your strength.

Step 1: Begin with bar on floor. Feet should be shoulder width apart with toes pointed forward or slightly out. Hands should be shoulder width apart. For the clean phase, it’s easier to have the thumbs inside the fingers in what’s called a hook grip.

Step 2: Moving the hips and legs in on motion, pull the bar upwards. When the bar reaches waist height, pull yourself under the bar by dropping into a squat. The bar should be resting on your collarbone.

Step 3: Stand up out of the squat, keeping bar still for the moment. From here, adjust your grip and your stance as necessary.

Step 4: When ready, bend the knees slightly and explode upwards, pushing the bar above your head. Simultaneously, bend your legs underneath in a lunge position, front leg bent and back leg straight. To finish the lift, bring legs back under body, shoulder-width apart.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so I have no clue what this video is worth, but this is how the pros do it.

There’s a reason that this lift is one of the standards of Olympic weightlifting and used by sports teams the world over. It can and should become one of the primary lifts in your workout.



1. carpediemcat - September 7, 2007

I placed your site under my useful links page… you should get more traffic that way. Have you figured out how all of the stats work? I’ve got some article ideas in place, and I’d like to here your take on them. An article (mainly pictures) with some of the crow holds on parallettes (poses). One on dragon twisting if you don’t beat me to the punch, or maybe we could corroborate on that one and do complementary pictures or pictures of one, and a video of the other, with and without weights. Two separate videos; one on core work, and one on pulls, an article with some jump roping, a cycling article. Then finally one on burpees, including the 100 burpees challenge, and as many variations as I can come up with, which I’ll definitely need some help on. Anyways ciao.

2. Achaicus - February 23, 2010

I am very happy I found your website on technorati. Thank you for the sensible critique. Me and my roommate were just preparing to do some research about this. I am very happy to see such great info being shared for free out there.
Best Regards,
Alden from Sioux Falls city

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